By Alan Carasso
A couple of hours after Aspen Grove (Ire) conjured up a 15-1 surprise in the GI Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks, Verifying (Justify) validated a quote of 3-5 favoritism–if only just–to best Raise Cain (Violence) in the GIII Indiana Derby.
Away alertly for Marcelino Pedroza, Jr, the $775,000 Keeneland September yearling–a half-brother to the magnificent Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute)–was content to lie second and allow the rail-drawn Transect (Gun Runner) to carve out the early fractions. Georgie W (Tapiture) tracked three wide from his high draw, while Cagliostro (Upstart) enjoyed the run of the race down inside. Positions were largely unchanged down the back, but when Alex Achard went for Georgie W three furlongs from home, Pedroza, Jr. was forced to respond in kind aboard Verifying and they carried a tenuous advantage into the stretch. The bay appeared to drift in, causing Cagliostro to steady, was confronted in earnest by Raise Cain inside the furlong pole and wandered about late, but was home first.
“He was just like we wanted,” said the winning jockey. “I waited as long as I could. When we turned for home, I asked him. He was playing with me a little bit. But when I went left-handed, I kind of moved out a little bit….and he gave me another gear just to hang on.
“It means a lot. I've been here five, six years, been riding here long enough. To win this race, the most important at the track, it means a lot.”
Runner-up in last year's GI Champagne S. off a successful Saratoga debut, Verifying was a highly impressive allowance winner at Oaklawn Jan. 14, but might have struggled with a rain-affected track when only fourth at 3-2 in the GII Rebel S. Feb. 25. The bay endured a tough beat at the hands of Tapit Trice (Tapit) in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 8 and attended the scorching pace in the GI Kentucky Derby before wilting to finish 16th. He bounced back with a near-miss second to Disarm (Gun Runner) in the GIII Matt Winn S. at Ellis Park June 11, leading into the final furlong before being outfinished.
Verifying is the 13th black-type winner worldwide and the ninth at the graded/group level for Justify. Diva Delite, also the dam of SW and Grade III-placed Stage Left (Congrats), was purchased by David Redvers with Verifying in utero for $1.2 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton November Sale and was most recently led out unsold on a bid of $775,000 at Keeneland November last fall. Diva Delite is also responsible for a yearling colt by Uncle Mo and produced a Gun Runner colt this year. Midnight Bisou topped last year's KEENOV sale on a bid of $5.5 million from Katsumi Yoshida, whose recent acquisition Defining Purpose (Cross Traffic) took the co-featured GIII Indiana Oaks one race earlier. Midnight Bisou, whose first foal is a colt by Curlin, produced a filly in Japan Feb. 24.
Saturday, Horseshoe Indianapolis
INDIANA DERBY-GIII, $300,000, Horseshoe Indianapolis, 7-8, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.15, gd.
1–VERIFYING, 124, c, 3, by Justify
1st Dam: Diva Delite (GSW, $300,067), by Repent
2nd Dam: Tour Hostess, by Tour d'Or
3rd Dam: Counsel's Gal, by High Counsel
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($775,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor; B-Hunter Valley & Mountmellick Farm, LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Marcelino Pedroza, Jr.. $176,400. Lifetime Record: MGISP, 9-3-3-0, $745,300. *1/2 to Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute), Ch. Older Dirt Female, MGISW, $7,471,520; 1/2 to Stage Left (Congrats), SW & GSP, $531,483. Werk Nick Rating: D+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Raise Cain, 124, c, 3, Violence–Lemon Belle, by Lemon Drop Kid. ($180,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $65,000 RNA 2yo '22 OBSOPN). O-Andrew N. Warren and Rania Warren; B-Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Ben Colebrook. $58,800.
3–Cagliostro, 118, c, 3, Upstart–A Rosefor Isabelle, by Hard Spun. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($385,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-David Ingordo, Talla Racing, James Spry, West Point Thoroughbreds and Nice Guys Stables; B-Lance Colwell & Janice Clark (FL); T-Cherie DeVaux. $32,340.
Margins: NO, 1 3/4, 2. Odds: 0.60, 5.40, 4.30. Also Ran: Transect, Georgie W, Onthestage, Hayes Strike. Scratched: Act a Fool, Stayinyourlane.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs.
#5 VERIFYING scores in a 📸 over #2 Raise Cain in the $300,000 Indiana Derby (G3)!
— TVG (@TVG) July 8, 2023